Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream is a 1971 novel by Hunter S. Thompson, illustrated by Ralph Steadman. The book is a roman à clef, rooted in autobiographical incidents. The story follows its protagonist, Raoul Duke, and his attorney.
An oddball journalist and his psychopathic lawyer travel to Las Vegas for a series of psychedelic escapades.
In 1971, Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo speed across the Nevada desert. Duke, under the influence of mescaline, complains of a swarm of giant bats, and inventories their drug stash. They pick up a young hitchhiker and explain their mission: Duke has been assigned by a magazine to cover the Mint 400 motorcycle race in Las Vegas. They bought excessive drugs for the trip, and rented a red Chevrolet Impala convertible. The hitchhiker flees on foot at their behaviour. Trying to reach Vegas before the hitchhiker can go to the police, Gonzo gives Duke part of a sheet of Sunshine Acid, then informs him that there is little chance of making it before the drug kicks in. By the time they reach the strip, Duke is in the full throes of his trip and barely makes it through the hotel check-in, hallucinating that the clerk is a moray eel and that his fellow bar patrons are orgiastic lizards.
The film received mixed reviews from critics and was a financial failure, but has since become a cult classic among film fans.